Just how golden is silence?
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For the British, itÊ¼s well known social law that in several, if not most, public spaces, silence is key. Those who dare speak in a London tube carriage, particularly during rush hours, are condemned to receive dirty looks from other passengers for the duration of their journey. Waiting for a bus? No, now is simply not the time to discuss last nightÊ¼s Corrie. And woe betide the poor, poor individual who fails to stifle his or her sneeze in an art gallery. Yet in recent years, it would appear that the ascent of the portable electronic device has meant that the world is no longer merely our oyster, but also our … office. WeÊ¼re able to reply to e-mails, finish our essays and fill out tax returns just about anywhere. As a result of this modernisation, we find ourselves placing excess value on the level of quiet. As students, IÊ¼m sure weÊ¼ve all been there. Ever tried to study in a coffee shop and found yourself infuriated by the precise details of your neighbourÊ¼s gallstones? TodayÊ¼s smartphones, tablets and lightweight laptops allow us to blur the boundary between work and play, which is many respects is fantastic. However, this ease of use sometimes prevents us from being our natural, social selves at times when this is required. Just ask Alex Haigh, the Australian founder of tongue-in-cheek stopphubbing.com. This site campaigns against the Ê»phubbingÊ¼ phenomena – a term coined by Haigh which hybridises Ê»phone snubbingÊ¼.
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